Amid the increasing strategic partnership of India-US in defence sector, just after signing of the most significant “COMCASA” agreement with US in September 2018. Yudh Abhiyas 2018 was a joint military exercise alternately hosted by two nations. It was the 14th edition of the exercise scheduled from 16 sepetmebr to 29 september, which was carried out in hilly terrains of Chaubattia in Uttarakhand. The aim of this 14th edition of exercise was to widen the scope and content of the joint engagement between two countries which is featured as:
- Deployment of 350 army personnel from both sides worked in Simulatory conditions of counter insurgency and counter terrorism in hilly terrains directed by UN charter.
- 1st infantry battalion, 23 infantry regiment and US army represented US side, while Indian contingent was represented by infantry battalion.
- Familiarisation with each other’s organisation structure, training curriculum, drills, various weapons and equipment employed is one of important part of the course of the exercise.
- The exercise also exhibited drills upgraded to Division Headquarter based command post exercise (CPX) and infantry Battalion carrying out Field training exercise (FTX).
- It was accompanied with discussions based on expert views catering issues of mutual interest for both nations.
- Coherent practice of the respective battle drills have been scheduled with the advancement of the exercise.
- Deployment of equipments for communication, surveillance and tracking, specialist weapons to fight against terrorists, enhanced explosive devices and detectors was major attraction for the participants to acquire the new skills.
- As the two week long exercise concluded, validation exercise were been planned to carry out a joint operation against terrorist in fictitiously organised real time scenario.
- After Indra a joint exercise, held in Vladivostok, Russia in 2017, it was the second joint tri-service exercise with any foreign country engaging armed personnel and assets from army, navy and air force.
- It was one of the enrichment exercise for the nations to learn from each other’s experience and expertise in their respective areas by “working together and gaining together” vision of the exercise.
- The exercise will enhance the interoperability between the defence forces of the two countries which is of immense value for the two democratic partners in the increasing advancement and tough competition at global level.
The above exercise will be followed by the first-ever mega tri-service amphibious exercise to be commenced at the Indian eastern coast in 2019. The status of Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 (STA-1) to India by US in July 2018 has made it to the list of first south Asian nation along with NATO allies of US like Australia, Japan and South Korea.
The above status will help India to bring home new technologies for defence, reflecting US intentions to strengthen the ties with India as a major defence partner, making it eligible to share with its most advanced and key technologies that will help India to emerge as major power in Defence sector.